Essay - Privatization of the Prison System and the Impact of the...


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PRIVATIZATION OF THE PRISON SYSTEM AND THE IMPACT OF THE DIFFERENTIATION OF SENTENCING IN POWDER VERSUS CRACK COCAINE OFFENSE ***** ***** IMPACT ON AFRICAN AMERICAN OFFENDERS

I. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF THE POLICY

In 1986 and 1988, the U.S. Congress passed federal sentencing laws related to crack cocaine that differentiated the sentences imposed upon defendants in powder and crack cocaine related offenses in what is known as the 'Anti-Drug Abuse Act of *****'. These stricter ***** guidel*****es were p*****sed to address the emerging *****sue of ***** cocaine which was perceived to be."..a social menace ***** was categorically different from powder ***** in its physiological and psychotropic effects." Crack cocaine is powder cocaine mixed with banking soda ***** then cooked into hard rocks, which are then broken up into smaller pieces and sold to those who use the drug by smoking it. Crack cocaine is cheaper than ***** cocaine ***** aroused great public concern when it first h***** t*****e streets in the United States. According to Alfred Blumstein of Carnegie Mellon University, as reported by Coyle (2002) in the work entitled: "Race and Class Penalties ***** Crack Cocaine Sentencing" crack cocaine began as an innovation in the drug market "crack distribution rights *****d boundaries were apportioned amongst competitors with the use of violence." (*****, 2002) The following table relates the median street-level dealer ***** quantities and m*****atory minimum ***** by the Anti-Drug Act of 1986.

***** Street-Level Drug Quantities and M*****atory Minimums

Drug

***** Drug Weight

Mandatory Minimum

Crack *****

52 grams

10 years

Powder Cocaine

340 *****

Source: Coyle (2002

***** created the United States Sentencing Commission in 1984 for ***** purpose of developing federal sentencing guidelines for the purpose of bringing about a reduction of sentencing disparity. By 1994 in alliance with provisions set out ***** the Omnibus Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, the ***** was instructed to conduct a study relating to different penalties in powder- ***** crack-coca*****e *****. ***** study lasted the duration of one year ***** recommendations ***** ***** Commission to the U.S. Congress to revise the crack/powder 100:1 sentencing disparity due to findings that due to ***** small differences in the two forms of coca*****e that such sentencing disparities were not justifiable. Commission advised an equalization (1:1) ***** the quantity ratio that would require mandatory sentencing relating to the ***** forms of cocaine. Commission recommendations included advisement that guidelines in ***** ***** should be based *****on criteria other than the type of drug for determination of the lengths of sentences. These recommendations ***** rejected by the U.S. Congress along with refusal to make changes to ***** law and was in fact the first such move ***** the history of the United States Sentencing Commission since *****' formation. Once again, recommendations were made in April 1997 regarding the ***** in sentencing between crack- ***** powder-cocaine ***** the *****ial sentencing should be balanced through provision of a range ***** 2:1 to 15:1 for ***** to choose ***** among. This new recommendation "was based on both raising

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